June 24, 2001
Le Pacha 1901 is a multi-level, multi-room restaurant complex on a barge docked in the Nile. It’s on the east bank of the long, park-like island that extends much of the length of downtown Cairo. Le Steak, on the lower deck, had a large bar and dining area and a somewhat more intimate section separated from the main room by a divider. Both rooms had water-level views of the Nile and East Bank. The host apologized for not seating me in a riverside booth --- ‘Can’t do that for a single,’ he said --- but gave me a deuce table within 10 feet of the picture windows. (The window booths did fill up with parties of two or more while I was there.)
I was early, the restaurant was relatively uncrowded, and both the service and the food were superb. Bar service included many name-brand American and Scotch whiskeys, albeit at a price. (Many Muslim countries ban alcohol; more Westernized Egypt tolerates it but taxes it heavily.) Our view faced east, so I couldn’t enjoy the sunset, but it was pleasant to watch darkness slowly settle over the busy river traffic.
To top off an already-perfect meal, the manager, upon learning that this was my final night in Egypt, bought me what what probably a very expensive cognac for an after-dinner drink.
Le Pacha 1901 is directly across from the Egyptian Museum, Ramses Hilton, and a major local bus terminal. It can be reached on foot by following the 6 October Flyover Bridge to a mid-span stairway, then down and to the north.
If I ever return to Cairo, I doubt I’d want to have dinner at any other restaurant. I can’t recommend Le Steak too highly.
From journal Night Train to Luxor